A Celestial Challenge at NSTA

20 March EdGE @ NSTA

Today a couple of astronomy guys drop by the booth. We talked a little bit about how EdGE might create games around astronomy. Of course, we could easily build an observatory on Blue Mars—I love to say easily, it sends Herve, one of our guys at VSE into an apoplectic state! You peel him off the roof, restore him to a more grounded state, and then he delivers much more than what you’d originally imagined.

After they left I continued to think about their visit. Shoot, just looking up from the Martian Boneyards at night would provide an interesting view that would challenge you to think about what you know and how you know it—where do you think the stars would be in the night sky? How about the planets? Would your astrological sign (heh) be the same?

What could we do with an Arcadian observatory? What kind would it be? How might it be different from something you’d find on Earth? How could it be woven into a story and concept that would engage gamers?

Although I didn’t get to spend too much time with them, they sent my mind on a run—where it does most of its more interesting thinking. I began to think about different tangents that EdGE and Arcadia might take to integrate such a celestial challenge. Like on a real run, I began to connect some crazy dots—that morning I’d gone to a presentation on ancient Egyptian science where the presenter made a very good case about how some Egyptologists felt a bit left out when it came to that great civilization getting any credit in the history of science. That led me to thinking about how, where I used to live (an unnamed city in the west), the movie Stargate was considered a documentary of the science of ancient Egypt. What if we created a storyline around the power of pseudoscience and how it might impact a society?

Then, of course, this led me to thinking about the powerful attractor that Mars represents in both the history of astronomy and the future of space exploration. From Percival Lowell—visit the Lowell Observatory if you ever get the chance—to the dream of a real Mars colony—here’s to you Planetary Society—astronomy and space science are naturals for inclusion in an EdGE game.

Crap. Reality at times gets in the way of thinking about the possibility of virtual worlds. I’ve got to stop before I can run farther with this. I just got an e-mail from my boss that I have to write some stuff for another proposal we are working on…I’ll have to shelve this for a while until I get in contact with these guys again.



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